BIRTH PARENT OUTREACH, SEARCH & SCREENING
Once you have retained our services, you will be asked to deposit a $5,000 a non-refundable fee to our “Birth Mother Outreach Fund.” If we, rather than you, create an appropriate birth mother opportunity that you accept, an additional $5,000 will be requested and deposited (and becomes non-refundable at that point) to our Birth Mother Outreach Fund. If through your own networking, you find your own birth mother, we will “intake”/screen, educate and counsel your birthmother which service is included in your initial contribution of $5,000.
These funds are applied towards the expenses associated with the following elements of this process:
Outreach/Education. We have established a national “birth parent outreach” system consisting of an advertising and education program which allows us to share information with birth parents (including their friends, family, medical and legal advisors) throughout the country about the option of open formatted independent adoption. Our outreach program consists of one or more of the following:
a. Direct advertising: We place ads for our law firm in telephone directories and adoption listings throughout the country in the states where such advertising is legal.
b. Communication with others in the community interested in independent adoption: Reputation and goodwill in the community – our firm has been in the field of adoption for many years, and many birth parents are attracted to our services because of our reputation and our counseling-oriented services. In addition, we have developed contacts in the medical community and adoption community, and birth parents are referred to us through doctors, medical facilities, school counselors, and adoptive parents and birth parents who have previously worked with us.
You may also wish to consider placing your own ad through us. We will assist you in writing your “tailor made” advertisements, assist you in choosing the media source through which your ad will run and then allow you to include our 800 number for potential birth parents to call in. We will screen the calls for you thereby eliminating the need for you to be available 24/7 for birth parent calls. Our staff uses the screening process described below to determine if the birth parent calling is indeed a “matchable” birth parent. The only additional cost to you for this service is the actual cost of the ad, which varies with the type of media source you select. Placing ads is strictly optional after retaining The Law Offices of D. Durand Cook, which many times shortens the waiting period in meeting an appropriate birth mother. Placing ads is not a requirement in meeting an appropriate birth mother.
Waiver of Birth Parent(s) Fund Fee
In adoptions involving a “special-needs” child, the Birth Mother Fund contribution is waived. A “special-needs” child is one whose adoption without financial assistance would be unlikely because of adverse parental background, ethnic background, race, color, language, membership in a sibling group that should remain intact, mental, physical, medical, or emotional handicaps.
Screening Out Inappropriate Birth Parents
a. Birth parent(s) with Substance Abuse or Other Health Problems. As you are most likely aware, substance abuse has been a great problem in the past and continues to be an issue. It is not our practice to routinely request that a birth parents submit to a hair follicle drug test. We are not medical experts and therefore, we do not participate in the collection or testing of the hair follicle. If the birth parents communicated to our staff through our intake process, that the child might be suffering serious effects from substance abuse, the birth parents would not be introduced to prospective adoptive parents through our office.
Other health problems may be a result of lack of or no prenatal care, insufficient diet, unsuitable housing, or a basic ignorance as to the proper care a pregnant woman needs. Again, we are not medical experts and therefore, we can only detect these types of health problems through our verbal communication with the birth mother. If there appears to be a possibility of any health problems, we would make you aware of those possibilities and assist you in scheduling an appointment with an appropriate medical provider if that is your request. If there is evidence of a serious health problem, determined either in our communication with the birth parents or by medical testing requested by you, we would refer the birth parents to an appropriate source for assistance.
Adoptive parents acknowledge that the Law Offices of D. Durand Cook will rely in good faith on all information provided by a birth mother. If a further investigation of health or drug use issues is desired beyond the information provided to our office by the birth parents, the adoptive parents will be responsible for initiating any such further investigation.
b. Birth Parent(s) Not “At Choice.” Sometimes birth parents have not yet made a commitment to adoption when they come to our office, and after exploring the possibility of adoption and considering their options, they determine that keeping the child, or some other arrangement, would be best for their situation. Our intake and counseling procedures can help a birth parents come to choice and either continue with our services and meet adoptive parents or proceed with another plan. You ultimately need to assess the birth parent’s commitment to adoption as you will be directly affected emotionally and financially by her or their ultimate decision.
Birth Parent Orientation